PITTSBURGH – It was, even by Brett Keisel's standards, a little over the top.
Hard hat pulled tight over his head, thatch beard already in midseason form, the veteran Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end arrived at training camp last month in a mini-dump truck. Just to prove he knew what he was doing, the 13-year veteran hit a lever and sent his luggage tumble out of the cargo bed.
As an entrance, it was more goofy than grandiose. As a symbol of where the franchise Keisel plays for finds itself heading into 2013, it couldn't have been more apt.
The Steelers shed what they deemed excess baggage in the offseason, even if the baggage included a handful of players with multiple Super Bowl rings. James Harrison, Max Starks and Casey Hampton, Willie Colon, Rashard Mendenhall and Charlie Batch were either deemed too old or too expensive to keep around — or both — after an 8-8 season while Mike Wallace and Keenan Lewis found bigger paydays elsewhere.
New faces indeed are in place, and as Pittsburgh preps to open Sept. 8 vs. Tennessee, there is renewed, albeit cautious, optimism abound.